Tomorrowland once again needs to represent a "wonderful age." merlinjones recently called for the restoration of Walt Disney's Tomorrowland in his recent There's always Tomorrowland
thread. However, where does the problem lie? Clearly, Tomorrowland's attraction roster is increasingly reflecting the popular films of the day, rather than offering adventures that are the "living blueprint of our future."
Possibly only two attractions remain true to Walt Disney's vision. Space Mountain continues to offer flights into the depths of outer space for guests of all ages, an opportunity that is still not available to the average Joe. And despite Innovention's complete failure to offer anything truly futuristic since it opened in 1998 except, perhaps, ASIMO; the attraction's intended purpose is highly reminiscent of the exhibits and attractions that Walt brought to the land to showcase new technologies and products, such as the Monsanto House of the Future
or the Hall of Chemistry
So where does Disney go from here? Three major attractions in Tomorrowland are based on films, one dealing with contemporary talking toys, another with present-day talking fish, and a third with characters and timeframes that deal with "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away." Furthermore, other attractions are dated and stale (Honey, I Shrunk the Audience and Autopia). Not only do attractions need to be seriously reconsidered for the World of Tomorrow, but the design aesthetic for Tomorrowland is also instrumental to the land's success.
The 1998 "New Tomorrowland" project failed to change this, only adding a new paint to the land to change its color scheme from the gleaming white future of the 1967 New Tomorrowland to a Jules Verne and Da Vinci-inspired bronzed tomorrow.
The 2005 re-painting of Tomorrowland, reverting back to white with accents of silver and metallic blue was a noble last-minute effort to give Tomorrowland a better, and somewhat nostalgic look for the 50th Anniversary, however, at the end of the day, it is too little too late.
For too long has Tomorrowland offered little in the way of truly inspired futurism. It's time to bring Tomorrowland out of the dated doldrums of nostalgia and underfunded re-themes. It is no longer the 1980s. It's time for Walt Disney Imagineering and the Walt Disney Company to take Tomorrowland to the future. All other lands in Disneyland offer some sort of lived-in community feel - whether its the personalized shop windows along Main Street, USA or the wacky homes of your favorite animated friends in Mickey's Toon Town, Disneyland's lands all feature the homes and businesses of people and friends. It's time to ditch the confused part-World's Fair, part-shopping mall feel of Tomorrowland and bring that sense of inhabited, community-based warmth to the land while giving it a futuristic flare. Stucco and white paint are old news. Glass and bushed chrome are our friends, and we should be able to live in it.
Concept art for Tomorrowland, except during the misguided 1998 remodel, has always evoked sleek, clean, and exciting. And to this day, sleek and dynamic architecture is often the style of choice for architects who wish to design the future. Present day Imagineers have a wide variety of places to gather inspiration from for the World of Tomorrow, including the concept art of their own predecessors. Seattle Central Library
Or if old concept art isn't good enough, Imagineering can take a two and a half hour flight up to Seattle and check out the city's incredible Central Library
Here's some information about Seattle's Central Library
, from their web site
Walt Disney Concert Hall
The dramatic glass and steel structure at 1000 Fourth Ave. in the heart of downtown Seattle was chosen to make the building open and translucent, according to Rem Koolhaas of OMA, the Dutch architectural firm that designed the building in a joint venture with LMN Architects of Seattle. Passersby on the street will be able to look in and see activity on every floor of the library.
Other notable architectural features visible from the street include:
- Steel grids supporting glass between a series of "floating platforms" — or levels — that make the building a marked departure from the typical urban high-rise;
- A unique overhang covering the entry on the Fourth Avenue side of the library, which also features a garden area with trees, grasses and "The Fountain of Wisdom" created by the late Seattle artist George Tsutakawa;
- A diagonal grid system designed to protect against earthquake or wind damage and metal mesh embedded in glass layers to reduce heat and glare.
Another exceptional place to look is just a short drive from Imagineering headquarters to a place that bears their founder's name: The Walt Disney Concert Hall
. Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, the Walt Disney Concert hall is dramatic, evocative, and welcoming. A beacon of futurism in downtown Los Angeles, the Concert Hall's style is
the future. Apple Stores
Furthermore, if Disney wants even more inspiration for Tomorrowland, they should give majority shareholder and board member Steve Jobs a call. Apple
is no stranger to technology and the future -- his company's products not only offer quality and technological breakthroughs, but the Company knows how to design some truly beautiful products and retail locations.
Tomorrow can still be a wonderful age, and the perfect place to begin this wonderful age is with the design of it. Come on, Imagineering. Make Walt proud.